Makati Garden Club’s Secret French Garden Cafe

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Have you already tried the quaint French Garden Cafe by Chef Robert Lilja at Makati Garden Club?

Founded in 1957, MGC champions urban gardening, plant care, and education to promote cleaner air environment located at the heart of the Makati pollution along the corner of Edsa and Ayala.

The club is now on its 3rd generation younger members; its mission is more relevant than ever, and the food and wine program is getting better over the years.


Recoletos Street corners EDSA & Ayala Avenue Makati
Operating Hours: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Monday – Sunday)
Telephone: +632 817-2738

Related Blog Post: MARIA LUISA’s Secret Garden Room @ Makati Garden Club!

First Things First

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Makati Garden Club is hidden and tucked away in a dead end Recoletos street which is the first right when entering Ayala Avenue from Edsa.

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Check out the well-curated Gifts & Curio shop which is open from Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm.

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You can rent the garden as a venue for your next intimate event with Chef’s Party Specials from 1,800+ to 1,900+/head.

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It has a romantic glow at night and feels like dining in a quaint cafe for people in the know.

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Maria Luisa’s Garden Room Menu: Appetizer, Cheese | Soup, Salad, Pasta | House Lamb Specials, House Steak Specials | Seafood, House Duck Specials | Dessert | Sparkling Wine, White, Rose, Digestif | Red, Bordeaux Wines

You can order a la carte but we tried the 7-Course Tapas Tuesday Nights (₱ 1,350/head) which is open for non-members, and this offer is part of their member recruitment drive to attract younger members.



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#1 Charcuterie Platter  (780 | 1,300). Salami, Goat Cheese, Jamon Serrano, Shrimp Cocktail, Liver Pate, Pickles, Sundried Tomato, and Olives

The tapas and wine courses by Chef Robert Lilja start with a cold cuts platter of cheese, meats, pate, and olives.

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On special days, the head cheese is served topped with slices of strawberry and beetroot for a bit of sweetness to cut through the gelatinous texture.

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Love this fruity and crisp Merlot Dry Rose version by Durbanville Hills  (Vivino rating 3.6)

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#2 Omelet with Gorgonzola

A nice light egg course oozing with creamy gorgonzola cheese.

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#3 Moules du Chef (480 | 780) with White Wine & Cream

This is the signature mussels dish that made Maria Luisa’s Garden Room famous. It’s as good as it looks, a must eat!

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The seafood is nicely paired with the tropical, fruity, and citrusy notes of the Chenin Blanc from Durbanville Hills, South Africa (Vivino rating – 3.4).

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#4 Penne Gorgonzola (330 |620)

Penne pasta with white gorgonzola cream sauce topped with more cheese.


Main Dishes

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#5 Shrimp Curry

The shrimp is cooked in French curry tradition, creamy with a mild spice.

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Swedish Chef Robert Lilja is a culinary legend in Manila known for his French cuisine and yummy baked goodies.

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#6 Pork Schnitzel

A taste of  Viennese schnitzel with salads and chips on the side before the steak course.

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#7 Bistro Steak

The steak was sliced thin but quite tasty smothered with mushroom sauce.

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Charlotte St. Cabernet Sauvignon (318/glass) Vivino rating – 3.8

This is a good value wine, dry, medium bodied, drinkable and a nice pairing with the meat.



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Mango Pavlova (480)

The best pavlova we tasted! Paired with green mango to give it a sweet and sour after taste. Ang sarap!

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Valrhona Torte (280)

A good French meal deserves a nice Valrhona chocolate ending.

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You can hang out in the garden and chat the night away with your friends.


Final Thoughts

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I love to rediscover this secret garden cafe which we last visited almost 5.5 years ago. I love the younger, romantic, and garden cafe vibe of the restaurant.

You’ll love Chef Robert’s food with French finesse using vegetables and herbs from their own garden. The wine program by Forth & Tay is interesting with labels usually reserved for hotels or special restaurant outlets offered at a good value. Budget about ₱1,500/head with wine.

Service is warm and family-friendly but can be slow at times. I love the homey treatment and people are friendly, not snooty.

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It’s a perfect place to celebrate a secret valentines treat or to have an intimate celebration with friends.

Recoletos Street corners EDSA & Ayala Avenue Makati
Telephone: +632 817-2738

Related Blog Post: MARIA LUISA’s Secret Garden Room @ Makati Garden Club!


Live an Awesome Life,

Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Chef Robert, and my wife is now a member of Makati Garden Club. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. They now have 2,000+ members and capping the membership to 3,000 at 1,200/ year membership. 

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It’s great to attend their educational courses on urban gardening which is more relevant than ever and to support their advocacy and causes. 

One thought on “Makati Garden Club’s Secret French Garden Cafe

  1. Hi,
    Nice post on Makati Garden Club and its restaurant. My husband and I have been there and enjoyed a lovely dinner, but it was also some years back! Chef Robert Lilja, a jovial Swedish fellow, (not Swiss) and we’ve known him for sometime and have always looked forward to his innovative creations whenever we visited him and Maria Lusia Garden. I used to visit Makati Garden Club when we lived in Manila and have bought flowers and taken origami courses from one of the elderly members. Good to know that membership is no longer limited to a few chosen ones!

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